Monday, 20 May 2013

Dear Pilgrim, do you need cleansing?

Dear Pilgrim, is it the cry of your heart to know Him better? To enjoy a greater fullness of all that is offered through the gospel message? Then allow me to take you to the tabernacle in the dusty desert, the tabernacle that was outlined with great care and in great detail by Yahweh to Moses from the mountain top, the sanctuary in which the Lord would dwell among His people.

Look at the courtyard before us – with linen curtains surrounding it. White linen – symbolizing the purity of the place in which God would dwell. Come with me through the one entrance into the courtyard, that one entrance that speaks of the only way of salvation in His Name, the Name of Jesus Christ, for there is no other Name by which man might be saved. Note the colours of the curtains in the entrance – blue, purple, scarlet – pointing to the Divine King who gave Himself as a Sacrifice.

Do you see the brazen altar? There are many people here, all bringing their sin offerings to the priests to be sacrificed before the Lord, that they might receive forgiveness for their sins. See the grate in the altar, where the fierce fire from the Lord burns up the sacrifice. Bronze – this withstood the fiery judgment and wrath of the Lord when the rebels brought their own incense before the Lord. Oh, Pilgrim, kneel with me and see how this bronze altar points to Him and the sacrifice that would give us the forgiveness we need for our sins. And note that there is no seat next to this altar, for the priests had to stand continually, endlessly repeating the sacrifices - as the blood from the animals could never take away sins. Take comfort, precious Pilgrim, in the knowledge that the Lamb of God sacrificed Himself for our sins once and for all, and He is now seated at the right hand of God. What a Saviour!

But dear Pilgrim, I urge you, not to keep your eyes cast down by the altar. For our God took a great deal of care in outlining the plans for the tabernacle to Moses on the mountain. The tabernacle is not limited to the bronze altar of sacrifice. Lift up your eyes! Do you see – the laver?

Oh Pilgrim, come, walk with me to the laver. These are precious steps we are taking. For when the pattern was given to Moses, it was only the priests who could walk to the laver. The Israelites could go no further than the altar. But the great truth of the Sacrifice our Lord made for us is that now, He has made us all priests. Can I share with you a sorrow of my heart, Pilgrim….for so many years, I remained at the sacrificial altar, eyes cast down, not realising I was free to walk further into the tabernacle. But now He has lifted my eyes, and the laver….

For walking this Pilgrim path, it is dirty, it is dusty, and despite our best efforts our feet get dirty. We are clean, for we have come past the bronze altar, we have accepted His sacrifice, our guilty consciences have been cleansed and we have been given life that we might know Him. Yet we still get dirty. Oh, Pilgrim, come to the laver with me. Be cleansed!

I see you are doing as I have tried so long, my friend. You are trying to cleanse yourself with the water from the laver. It seems the right thing to do, doesn’t it? Yet His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Look – here comes One to clean your feet. Pilgrim, I understand the look of horror in your eyes as you realise Who this is, that has been my reaction. “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?...You shall never wash my feet!” Is it not enough that He had to sacrifice Himself on that cross and bear the wrath against sin in our place? Does He now have to come and bend down at our feet, our feet that need to be cleansed, take hold of them, wash them, dry them? This is not how it should be – we should be the ones to bow down at His feet. How can we let Him do this, the King of Kings?

Oh dear Pilgrim, allow yourself to be broken yet deeper still. Broken in recognition of the fact that we can do nothing to cleanse ourselves of our dirt, broken from any remaining vestiges of pride, broken in recognition of the fact that the Servant King is the only One who can cleanse us, that He desires to do this for us, that it is His joy – and gratefully receive, Pilgrim! Take to heart His words “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me”.  We are IN Him, through the sacrifice at the altar – to be WITH Him, to enjoy a greater fullness in our walk with Him, let Him wash us clean. Let us run to Him when our feet have become dirty, just as Peter did when He saw the risen Lord - and was restored in his spirit through an intimate time of fellowship.

And after He has washed your feet clean - fall at His feet and wash them with your tears of worship.